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Dec 26 2011

Feminist nerd rage

Oh, this was good for a laugh. In fantasy role playing games, there are certain standard roles that have to be filled: the tank, the big heavily armored brute who can take lots of damage; the damage dealers, who may be more fragile, but can pew-pew lots of hurt at the bad guys; and the healers, who can keep everyone healthy and alive during the battles. There are also different kinds of games: ones where you fight monsters set up by the creators of the game, or PvP, player-vs-player, where you fight each other. As you might guess, there are gender-stereotypes associated with each role as well — so lots of people assume that the tanks are all guys and the healers are mostly women (what few women who play these games, anyway), and that women all shy away from PvP.

So I was sent this thread where a woman questions the stereotypes in World of Warcraft. One clueless fellow early on suggests that “women are better at supportive roles and males are (sometimes) better at leading the troops” uses pseudo-evolutionary rationalizations to defend himself…and then the ladies all drop-kick his punk ass. It’s hilarious. I especially liked the woman who talked about playing the tank while breast-feeding.

Also, check out the three year old who spots the patriarchy in a toy store.

109 comments

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  1. 1
    Andrew Bowers

    My guild leader is a woman who plays all roles but mainly enjoys tanking. We just switched over to Star Wars: The Old Republic which, by the way, is great so far. Very cinematic and absolutely gorgeous.

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    Bah, humbug. SW:TOR doesn’t run on Mac, apparently.

  3. 3
    vernonbalbert

    I wonder if andrewbowers is in the same guild I am because it’s exactly the same situation I’m in.

    Besides, how can anybody tell who is what sex? All my toons in WoW are female and I’m definitely male, at least that’s what it says on the tag between my legs.

  4. 4
    NovaC

    I was very much like that little girl! I was MUCH more interested in books(no princesses allowed),telescopes, microscopes, building catapults and various war engines built from found scraps, building forts,and climbing trees. I forgot to mention collecting insects, reptiles, and building terrariums for them. Skateboarding. Fishing.Video games. Archery.
    Every Barbie doll, baby doll,and play makeup set got destroyed or shoved into the farthest recesses of my closet.
    I think this little one will be just fine!

  5. 5
    rogerbraun

    It seems a female gamer in this thread says essentially the same thing, just with a positive spin: She is a better healer in the game because she is a woman/mother.

    These stereotypes have to be challenged, whether positive or negative.

  6. 6
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    PZ, are there any games that run on a Mac?

    Oh, snap!

  7. 7
    NovaC

    And to speak to the topic of gaming: This person hasn’t seen me and my sister Space Marines in full mad-on playing Warhammer. Supportive/healing my ass!

  8. 8
    setec

    I used to be addicted to an MMORPG (have been clean since before WoW) and there is a bit of truth to the gender roles, although I think it’s based on preference rather than aptitude. Many women just aren’t all that interested in acting out violence, simulated or not, and are more likely to prefer positive, nurturing roles like healer. That may not be politically correct, but it was statistically very clear on my server. There were several exceptions, and at least two of the best fighters on the server were played by real-life women, but more than half of the good healers were women.

    Leadership is a bit harder to comment on. The game I played (Dark Age of Camelot) had a strong PVP component, but I don’t remember a major PVP action ever being led by a known female-played character. Sexism may play a part in this: I would guess that adolescent males with big virtual egos — probably still a plurality in the RPG audience — are more likely to follow one of their own than to follow a woman. It may also be an offshoot of the gender preferences for class, as major PVP was never led by healers of any gender, and was generally led by the fighters with the greatest individual reputations. Getting a hundred people who are playing a game for their own fun to voluntarily follow your orders with military precision is very difficult, and it only works well if the leader has such a reputation that people are excited by his/her mere presence and the opportunity to fight with such a character. Only two female fighters on my server had reached that level, and neither one was personally interested in leading. I’m sure there are plenty examples of female rpg leadership out there, but they probably are statistically underrepresented.

    I don’t think the blog discussion you linked really refutes these arguments, because you can’t disprove a statistical trend by listing several counter-examples. It’s not surprising nor sexist to suggest that women on average enjoy games in a different way than men do, provided one acknowledges that women who do choose to apply themselves to traditionally male roles are often very successful.

  9. 9
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    While I certainly laud the questioning of stereotypes and all that, I find that there is a much, much more important issue here: People are playing WoW. Some poor, broken souls honestly believe that this horrible shitpile is a “good game”. This type of irrationality must be fought, for the sake of our children and our children’s children. Humanity must rise up, and demand more from our game designers. Terrible, boring gameplay driven by crude psychological trickery should not be allowed, much less supported by the masses.

    Also, just get a real computer, PZ. Your adherence to the Fisher Price of electronics really hurts your nerd cred.

  10. 10
    Nerdette

    I played WoW for five years, three years as an mid-tier raider (i.e. 5-10 hours a week pure raiding) and one year as a progressive hard core (20+ hours). I completely agree that class-style is completely personality based. I’ve met great women and men healers, and I’ve met very poor women and men healers. Same goes for tanks and DPS. I hate healing (I’ve given it an honest shot on a complete of class-types), I dislike tanking (never interested), but I love ranged DPS, and I especially love PvP. I took a two year hiatus from MMOs for grad school and just started up again for SW:TOR. Playing PvP again was like a breath of fresh air. Quick decision making, constantly changing scenarios – it’s an ever changing challenge – I love it. But that’s me. I’m a competitive person. Some people like it, some don’t. It’s certainly not gender-based.

    I also roll only female characters of “non-ideal” body types. My Sniper in SW:TOR is Very Curvy, as opposed to the other three options: Very Slim, Slim, Tall-Stocky. But character representation in video games is another discussion.

    Sorry you can’t play SW:TOR, PZ – it’s a delightful game. I’m approaching it as a Light-sided Imperial (Sith) character, which makes for an interesting dynamic.

  11. 11
    carlie

    I’ve been seeing the video of the little girl all over the place. Rock on, little girl and her parents, but what the hell is that t-shirt she’s wearing? It’s disembodied stockinged legs and high heeled shoes. Ick.

  12. 12
    Nerdette

    I also think that the skewed prevalence of women towards healing classes (if it even exists anymore) is not necessarily because they want to heal, but because there is/was pressure directing them to choose that option. I’ve known a good portion of women who played because their significant others played, and chose their healing class because it was suggested to them. I think as women gamers become more independent (enjoying gaming for gaming itself, actively seeking out games; not necessarily as a bonding option for couples), we’ll see that bias disappear as female gamers make their own choices instead of just taking suggestions.

    I’d still love to see numbers for these demographics. The MMO has become huge, and the percentage of female gamers has definitely grown over the last 10 years.

  13. 13
    tynk

    Another gamer girl here, playing MMOs for over a decade mainly as a tank and healer, never did like DPS. But everyone here knows we exist. The stereo types get broken by people speaking up about them in game. I do play SW:TOR and LOVE it (PZ you can get wine for MAC and play with me!) and I need to share an awesome story.

    Just trying out the early levels of a bounty hunter and had an eye on general chat. Someone used the standard “that’s gay” about something, I do not remember what, and I made the comment that it was a bigoted turn of phrase, and unless he wanted to be labeled a bigot, should change his usage. He came right back with the expected taunt of “yea well you’re” gay” and I said “yes I am, so what”. At this point I had to smile, there must of been 10 other people that all started to jump in against this one person saying how the slur was unnecessary and he should just stop.

    That is how things start to change. Just keep speaking your mind until other realize they can also speak out. And I keep speaking up when I see the ignorant speak, whether it is homophobic, misogynistic, or grammatical. I will be heard!

    Jamisia/Katrina, Dark Reaper, Republic.

  14. 14
    Steve Caldwell

    Sir Shplane, Grand Mixmaster, Knight of the Turntable says:

    Also, just get a real computer, PZ. Your adherence to the Fisher Price of electronics really hurts your nerd cred.

    So you’re suggesting that he should use Linux? Which distro?

  15. 15
    loreo

    That little girl kicks so much ass.

    I played WoW for a long time with a friend of mine, she snuck around stabbing people in the back while I (male) kept her alive.

    We both had female toons.

    The real world is just so much more complex than stereotypes. Stereotypes are like shitty maps which aren’t accurate; you can’t use them to get where you want to go.

  16. 16
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    @RandumNumbersGuy

    I totally tried installing Linux a while back. Never found a reason to run it over Win7.

  17. 17
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Sir Shplane:
    Right on. Maybe I just don’t “get it”, but I find MMORPGs to be mindnumbingly stupid.

    Nerdette,
    That’s been my assumption, too– we’re supposed to be the caring/nurturing ones IRL and that kind of pigeon holing just carries over into the gaming world.

    I think we’re seeing a slow change in the trends. I can’t speak of MMOs, but it’s becoming more and more common for single player games to allow the player to choose their gender, with no real differences between playing a male or female protagonist (think Mass Effect, Fallout, Fable, Dragon Age, Saints Row, etc).

    Anyway, I’m off to play me some Assassin’s Creed. ‘Cos, you know, as a female gamer, I’ve no interest in badassery.

  18. 18
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    I can’t speak of MMOs, but it’s becoming more and more common for single player games to allow the player to choose their gender, with no real differences between playing a male or female protagonist (think Mass Effect, Fallout, Fable, Dragon Age, Saints Row, etc).

    Can’t forget Skyrim. Hell, it even lets you gay marry any of the woo-able NPC’s in the game.

  19. 19
    'Tis Himself

    Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart #6

    PZ, are there any games that run on a Mac?

    Guild Wars. Darkfall. Tetris.

  20. 20
    blorf

    I love the comment that 42% of the player base is female while nowhere near that percentage are healers. My wife played WoW for a few years, as well as EQ, SWG, CoH, DDO etc, and preferred tanks throughout. Some of her tanks can heal, but that is always secondary to the smashmouth.

  21. 21
    Luc

    Two words: Aveline Vallen.

  22. 22
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Sir Shplane,
    *facepalm!* Of course Skyrim, too. The sad thing is my husband was playing that as I typed my comment.

    The Dragon Age series allowed you to romance characters of the same sex and, IIRC, so did the Fable games.

  23. 23
    Rowan vet-tech

    I’m 29, a woman, and play Old Republic and WoW. I play ranged dps, and have often raided. The only reason why my guildies know I’m female is because I actually talk out on vent.

    I once joined a particular guild, and they seemed okay if a little immature at times. I wasn’t having any real problems until the first time I joined their vent server. The immediate response was “OMG you’re a girl!? Show us your tits!” One /gquit later…

    And so many of these dudebros have the gall to claim there’s no women on the internet?

  24. 24
    PZ Myers

    Do not diss my Mac.

    If I wanted to play games on my computer instead of do work, I guess you’re right…I shoulda bought a PC.

  25. 25
    Momo Elektra

    I loved Aveline Vallen. Nah, still do.
    She is awesome.

    I spoke to a friend last week who is a reporter/journalist who focusses on video/computer games. We discussed how Bethesda/Bioware (mabye others too, but those big ones where the ones we talked about) seem to have left the gendered storylines and made them more open. I love the ability to chose (character, appearance, story and so on) most of all in games, so this development is going to make me a very happy player these coming years.
    Can’t wait for ME 3.

  26. 26
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    @Audley

    Wait, shit. You’re right. I forgot about that.

    Probably because I never really finished either game. Dragon Age had a really cool universe, but had too much of that Boring MMO Gameplay that I was complaining about earlier. I heard that DA2 plays better, but just haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.

    Haven’t finished Fable because my access to XBoxes is sporadic at best. I still should have remembered that, though, because my one Fable character spent quite a bit of time finding virtual presents to give to her virtual girlfriend.

  27. 27
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Shplane,
    I had (and have) no interest in the first DA whatsoever, but the second one was a hell of a lot of fun. My lady Hawke (*snerk!*) romanced the lady pirate. Good times.

    To all mentioning Aveline: she was cool and badass, but I never used her in my party ‘cos I was also cool and badass. Oh well.

  28. 28
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    @PZ

    Nothing is sacred! Jobsianism is a religion like any other, and I will do all in my power to see it dismantled! It just hurts me so much to see someone I care about in the thrall of this delusion.

    Do a lot of Biologist programs only run on OSX or something? Otherwise, I can’t see how a Mac would help you work in any way.

  29. 29
    Momo Elektra

    @Dr. Audley Z.:

    To all mentioning Aveline: she was cool and badass, but I never used her in my party ‘cos I was also cool and badass. Oh well.

    I at first used Healers and Supporters because I thought that this is where the real strength lies. But the more I play the more I favor my characters to be tanks, too (also because I suck at hiding and being able to take a lot of damage tends to make the game a more enjoyable experience – I will just say “loading times”).
    ___________________________
    I used to play Eve Online ages ago. I played in Empire Space (easy), 0-space (easy, because no one goes there without back-up) and the-between-space (dangerous).

    0-space technically is the most dangerous because there are no cameras for the authorities, so to speak. But nothing ever happend to me there, I was never rudely approached for being a female. There were quite a few females who rocked. I guess 0-space tends to be serious anyway.

    But in the middle, the above 0 and below empire space (5, IIRC), there were many quite juvenile players, and they showed it. Anyone with a female avatar was a target. They just loved to shoot.

  30. 30
    gustav

    “Two words: Aveline Vallen.”

    Don’t forget Merrill, the only mage in the game that can’t heal.

  31. 31
    Momo Elektra

    @gustav:

    Don’t forget Merrill, the only mage in the game that can’t heal.

    My Bethany couldn’t either.

  32. 32
    Bronze Dog

    I haven’t been a real MMO person, but I’ve tried a couple. One was an indev game where my empire ended up being in a dark corner of the galaxy (I may start over again after they’ve implemented more features), and the other was DC Universe Online, since it was free to play (though I unlocked a few things with one-time purchases). The mechanics are set up so that anyone can be DPS, regardless of power set, or Tank, Controller, or Healer according to their power set. My hero is an ice-type DPS, with a few tank options.

    For my second character, I considered playing a male with the “large brute” body type as a villainous healer, but I haven’t been feeling like playing again after hitting the level cap with my hero. At that point, either I’m doing something wrong, or I’m being forced to grind repeat missions to be able to buy the high end equipment so that I can just survive the level 30 group missions.

  33. 33
    DrMcCoy

    @tynk, #13: SWTOR doesn’t (yet) work with wine. I myself am waiting on that too, because I’m a Linux guy (and the friend I mainly want to play with is running a Mac too).

  34. 34
    Loqi

    I guess my guild must be doing it wrong. All of our healers are men, while both of the women in our guild (both officers, one the guild leader) play damage dealers and have alts that tank when we’re short on tanks.

    @rowanvt
    That’s a sadly common experience. Our GM is one of my best friends, so I group with her to do non-guild activities all the time, and I cringe whenever someone finds out she’s a woman and makes some sexist remark. A part of me secretly smiles mischievously, though, because there’s nothing more satisfying than watching her verbally castrate some dick-waving troll in front of everyone. She’s like a one-woman Pharyngula.

  35. 35
    otranreg

    @17

    I can’t speak of MMOs, but it’s becoming more and more common for single player games to allow the player to choose their gender, with no real differences between playing a male or female protagonist (think Mass Effect, Fallout, Fable, Dragon Age, Saints Row, etc).

    Any examples of games where you have a real gender choice for your characters that somehow makes the game considerably different its mechanics-wise? Since you’ve named a few Action/RPG games: Might and Magic series, Fallout 1 and 2, Baldur’s Gate series — you can choose whatever gender you want and while NPC attitudes may vary (which is great), it doesn’t affect the arse-kicking part at all.

  36. 36
    tynk

    @34 loqi
    I have been playing mmos long enough ( too long? Nah,) that I got used to playing without VoIP and to learn being female is a bad thing when it is proven. I play female characters and do not hide who I am. But only use my mic in small groups of people whome I trust. I have had some very bad irl issues in the past. Things have changed since then, but I just can not do it anymore. I do not know what it is about hearing a woman’s voice, but it brings out the batshit crazy in some people.

    @33 DrMcCoy
    I may have been mistaken, but I believe I read about it working with some stack tweaks and linked folders.

  37. 37
    'Tis Himself

    Do not diss my Mac.

    I wouldn’t dream of it. After all, if you want to own an overpriced computer which doesn’t run a lot of software, that’s your right.

  38. 38
    ibyea

    Wow, so I am not the only person that dislikes MMORPGs and how tedious they are to play, especially the way it takes a lifetime to level up even ONE freaking level.

  39. 39
    GodotIsWaiting4U

    You ever figure out a way to play TOR, PZ, Jekk’Jekk Tarr’s the server for you (or for anyone). Watch for a healing Jedi named An-Dur if you want good support (it’s me).

  40. 40
    brandonlawler

    I’ve been raiding WoW since it came out, and can indeed verify the stereotype with regard to the small sample size of raid groups that I’ve participated in. There is no good reason that female gamers cannot be amazing DPS, amazing tanks, and/or amazing raid leaders, but the way the chips currently fall, fewer female gamers fill those roles.

    I’ve been through four raid leaders and around two dozen tanks, all of which have been male. Female gamers have been a part of our raids, but I’d say they’re about an even split between healers and DPS. Because every raid team has about twice the DPS as they do healers, this means that a disproportionate amount of female gamers do fulfill the healer role. Some are good, some aren’t, but our two top DPS players at the moment are both female.

    Female gamers would be just fine in leadership and tanking roles. Partially, I think that they tend toward taking support roles simply because that’s what the stereotype dictates.

  41. 41
    Luc

    @30: True, true. I only mentioned Aveline because I was thinking about tanks.

    I normally make Merrill a spirit/entropy crowd controller (those are the spooky magic trees since she’s sort of spooky herself with her ancient tribal mirror business) and Bethany a committed elementalist damage dealer. Fireballs everywhere! Falling from the sky! xD

  42. 42
    Luc

    @35: that’s the point, really. The fact that mechanics-wise it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman is a good thing.

  43. 43
    Momo Elektra

    I’m currently watching DS9-Bload Oath. Gosh, I love that show. Among others, Farscape for example.
    Ah, there have been great female, male, and between or different/other heroes in my youth.

  44. 44
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Otranreg,
    None are coming to mind immediately- execpt for the first couple of RE games. I just like the RPG elements in games, is all.

  45. 45
    Teh kiloGraeme

    SWTOR is awesome! I’m a tank in both D&D and SWTOR, and my gf has been either a Rogue, Mage or Healer in all of the different RPG’s she’s played.

    She enjoys sneaking around and shooting things in the back. Not really the job of a tank, though she’s done it for a while before. I suppose I’m naive in that I thought people played the roles they enjoyed, rather than what they were expected to do.

  46. 46
    Momo Elektra

    @Teh kiloGraeme:

    I suppose I’m naive in that I thought people played the roles they enjoyed, rather than what they were expected to do.

    Sometimes those two things are hard to differentiate.

  47. 47
    Loqi

    @tynk
    For some people, the only reason they aren’t over-the-top sexist assholes in the real world is that there are social consequences. Take away the consequences and add in the anonymity of the internet, and people’s true character comes out. I was hugely disappointed in the gamer community when I started playing with female friends and had my eyes opened to how bad it is.

  48. 48
    otranreg

    @44

    What I meant to say is that it isn’t a thing that is ‘becoming more and more common’. I intentionally gave examples of games from the 90′s — it was back then as it is today: if there is a real choice, no edge is given.

    The only notable exception in this genre that I can come up with is Arcanum. If you start there as a man, you got a small bonus to strength and if you are a woman, you get a bit more endurance. Both bonuses are negligible so the game doesn’t really differ either way.

  49. 49
    DrMcCoy

    @tynk, #36: Nope. The Beta used to work with a few hacks, but the retail version is broken. The relevant bug report is this here, seems to be an issue with wine’s winsock implementation, from what it looks like.

  50. 50
    marlorocci

    Aren’t all the females in WOW really guys anyway? Real women wouldn’t put up with the over the top mammaries that the characters have.

  51. 51
    tynk

    @47 Loqi
    Very true, and that does not stop with misogyny. I am very happily surprised to be seeing a shift in this. As I posted earlier, I make a try to point out these misuses of anonymity when I see them. Unfortunately I tend to be quieter in real life for the same reason, the repercussions can be harsh.

  52. 52
    coyotenose

    I feel the nerdish need to point out that these are “MMORPGS” rather than “fantasy role-playing games”. Technically they fit that description, but the term “role-playing game” traditionally refers to an open-ended game, not one with the kinds of limitations imposed by an outside program. A tabletop game or text-based roleplaying are better examples of an RPG.

    Anecdotally, I have met quite a few women players who enjoy the hell out of the “Healer” role for exactly the stereotypical reason, and have done it for years. But that’s just my experience; YMMV. I’ve also met some seriously bloodthirsty women players who trash talk like no tomorrow, some who do excruciatingly detailed math to max out individual, group and large-scale effectiveness, and some who OMG THE TANK’S A GIRL!

    It’s worth noting that I’ve played with people from roughly 10 to 90 years of age of both genders who are damn good players. The young ones are upbeat as hell, which really does give a big plus to the group’s performance, and the older players bring strategic skills and concentration that more than compensate for slower reflexes. Plus they get my jokes. :P

    I also know more than a few female artists who draw WoW erotica for fun, including one who draws herself making out with her own character, or hers and her husband’s characters (both male) doing it. I love these people so.

  53. 53
    Emrysmyrddin

    Always been ‘a person’ rather than ‘a female’ in my mind; apparently that shocks some people. Love trad female things like crafts, cooking and books; love trad male things like science, comics and gaming. That little girl in the video was me. I’ve come up against it a lot from more gender essentialist people in my life so far, and a large percentage of that is through gaming. I’ll usually use a neutral name, and a female body where a female is actually available because the option’s been very rare in the past, but I’ll never touch Vent or other VoIP again in-game; you’re right, there’s something about a female voice that just brings out the de-brained hordes. Currently a recovering WoW addict, ranged DPS, very occasional tank, and soloist – grouping outside my excellent Guild was just too frustrating regarding sheer levels of social idiocy.

    Emrysmyrddin, Old Remedies, Arathor EU (ftw) ;)

  54. 54
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Otranreg,
    I wasn’t saying that it never happened before, but it’s more common in console gaming, is all. For a long time, it seemed like most games, you were stuck with the preset character, whereas now more games are giving you the choice.

    Am I making any sense?

  55. 55
    tynk

    @50 marloracci
    I noticed in SWTOR, when you change a female characters body type, the always adjust the camera for the perfect angle to view breast size. That may just be me.

    @49 DrMcCoy
    That maybe the excuse I was looking for to breakout my gentoo dev box. I did want to learn more about stack coding!

  56. 56
    coyotenose

    Marlorocci, a lot of World of Warcraft players are women. Geez, I know like ten couples who MET through MMOs. According to statistics compiled by Atari a few years ago, 40% of all gamers are women.

    Most of the women gamers I’ve met have picked character races that don’t fit the lingerie model mold. A significant minority of them make male characters!

  57. 57
    tynk

    Oh and yes, I played wow for a couple years. Mostly as a troll female warrior (one of 3 at max level on all severs) and a blood elf disc priest. :)

  58. 58
    yellowsubmarine

    @ Setec
    “Many women just aren’t all that interested in acting out violence, simulated or not, and are more likely to prefer positive, nurturing roles like healer. That may not be politically correct, but it was statistically very clear on my server.”

    Pics or it didn’t happen.

    Even if it was true that your server had more women playing healers than men, have you considered that it may have more to do with men’s aversion to healing (not manly) rather than women’s aversion to simulated violence or preference to fullfil a nurturing role which would skew the percentage of who played what? Even if it were true, you are making assumptions about why it is true in claiming that it is because women “aren’t all that interested” in the one, and “prefer” the other. When I started playing wow, I was encouraged by the men in the guild to play a healer, and since my husband played a more meaty type, I rolled a healer to supplement his playstyle. Come to find out, I hated healing. Now I’m a bear tank.

    “There were several exceptions, and at least two of the best fighters on the server were played by real-life women, but more than half of the good healers were women.”

    I also think it’s a little weird to say that women would be better at healing class because of their nurturing instinct. When it comes down to it, there’s no nurturing involved. You’re just pressing buttons in response to various class specific stimuli, same as dps and tanking classes. So would someone prefer a healing class if they like the idea of nurturing? Sure, maybe so. But would it make them better at it? I’m not convinced of that at all.

    Also what information are you using to claim that half of the “good” healers were women? Also also, how long ago was this? If this was shortly after mmorpgs took off, I wouldn’t be surprised if this were all true, but I’m not convinced that it is the case now.

  59. 59
    coyotenose

    Emrysmyrddin, true story: I played Everquest back before there was any Ventrilo program or such to work with. My writing style was very feminine, and I had a female character. Although I told people I was a man, my guild actually decided that I was really a woman pretending to be a man playing a female toon to get guys to leave me alone, and they wouldn’t believe me.

    I quit the guild when they started having fights over me. I even had a real-life Dom/sub couple trying to get me to visit them, and a swinging married couple who wanted me to come to their seasonal orgy. I. Kid. You. Not.

  60. 60
    Cipher

    When I played tabletop RPGs with my horrible male nerd acquaintances a while ago, their gaming choices resulted in me being forced into the healer/support role during my first game. I was useless at it. My second game, I was a pistol-wielding obsessive charismatic badass who saved the day every fucking time. She was an excellent character. But they were insensitive assholes and we don’t play anymore. When I play video games, I play as an assassin – I like to sneak around in dark places, steal things, and cut unsuspecting throats. S’what I do. But I do not game socially, in part because of the subtle gender expectations and pressure that I would have to deal with constantly if I did, in part because I absolutely cannot handle racist misogynistic homophobic fuckhead trolls anymore, and in part because I can’t really handle people, so it’s not relaxing or entertaining to me to play video games with them. So, um, PSA to people who are reinforcing the gender expectations here: Your stereotypes are self-fulfilling, because you’re actually driving people who may not fit them out.

  61. 61
    otrame

    I’ve been playing WoW for 6 years, though I do not like the direction it’s been going in lately, and was looking to SWTOR to go to…. Until I realized that it did not play on Macs. I am not happy about that. Still, maybe the first real competition will do WoW some good (since SWTOR’s attitude seems to be “We don’t like your kind around here” when it comes to Macs and thus we probably can’t expect to play any time soon).

    I have never played a healing class for more than about level 20. Tanking, well, tanking requires constant and detailed situational awareness and I don’t think I am up to that. I am straight up dps, and enjoy either ranged or melee dps. And not only am I a female, but I am a female in her 60s.

    Why don’t people play what they enjoy? Why on earth would you do anything else? People trying to tell me what I “should” like playing are likely to get a few things explained to them in words of four letters.

    Oh, and all you people making snide remarks about Macs, bite me.

  62. 62
    bovarchist

    Columnist (female) in our local paper wrote a column recently wondering why there weren’t more female newspaper columnists, since women were generally better at communication than men. I wrote her a short note saying that it was probably because women weren’t as good at logical argument as men. She thought I was being serious, wrote me a very snippy response demanding scientific proof of that.

    Women just don’t get irony.

  63. 63
    Emrysmyrddin

    ClassicalCipher:

    in part because I absolutely cannot handle racist misogynistic homophobic fuckhead trolls anymore, and in part because I can’t really handle people, so it’s not relaxing or entertaining to me to play video games with them.

    QFT. I did say ‘recovering’ WoW player ;) Still a gamer (out of my COLD DEAD HANDS…), just solo situations and FPS.

    coyotenose, I can believe you; despite my misanthropy, gamers are still my favourite kind of people because they never fail to be diverse

  64. 64
    tynk

    @bovarchist

    “Women just don’t get irony”

    Sometimes irony and the catch 22 are idestinguishable.

    Just for spites sake… Ass!

    ;)

  65. 65
    Kagehi

    Bah, humbug. SW:TOR doesn’t run on Mac, apparently.

    I own it, but can’t run it, because, at the time I last built a system, I saw no good reason to spend double on a dual core processor, so went single, and now every damn game needs at least two of them. Can’t wait, frankly, for the gamer heart attack that happens when they release Knights Bridge, and a game for it that requires those 50 core co-processing its supposed to have. I won’t be the only one annoyed that I can’t run the games then. lol

  66. 66
    Aquaria

    Also, just get a real computer, PZ. Your adherence to the Fisher Price of electronics really hurts your nerd cred.

    He has one, and it works 99.99999999 times out of 100. That’s better than any WinBlows user can dream of.

  67. 67
    Crissa

    Macs run and mesh well with anything Unix/Linux-based, because they talk the same language. Then you have the maintenance issue – who wants a computer you have to tear apart regularly for it to run? – and Macs just become a primary option for science work.

    Windows just needs to learn from everyone, and not just itself. They spend billions of dollars to get developers on their platform – no one spends billions of dollars to get developers to develop on Unix derivatives. If Microsoft spent billions of dollars on being the best, there’d be no competition. But they don’t, they spend it on marketing to execs instead.

  68. 68
    Crissa

    I’ve not played many MMOs – I just can’t get into the repetitive mindset, I guess – but I did like that WoW was diverse at launch, and only got more so. Their stories never failed to not disappoint me, though, so I kinda gave up.

    There’s no reason for the tank-dps-healer triumvirate that is in most MMOs, either. It’s basically several tasks assigned to specialties: a battle has incoming fire which needs to be mitigated by absorption or avoidance; a battle has injuries or used resources, which needs to be healed or replaced; and that incoming fire needs to be returned, the best defense is an offense as they say or a dead man doesn’t shoot back others say. It’s just specialization which makes this turn into tank healer DPS.

    But there’s no reason, especially in a game with any single-player content, for there to be a ‘DPS’ – everyone needs to do DPS in single-player to remove obstacles, everyone needs to replace their resources, and everyone needs to weather or avoid depletion of their resources by ‘damage’ or whatever.

    In WoW the game moves around two basic styles of play – the whack a mole and the guitar chords – interspersed with running around. DPS generally has less whack-a mole, because they chose a UI that means that targets can’t just show up on your UI and a system where enemies are usually outnumbered by players. Healer generally can’t just chord through abilities because they need to target multiple targets which remain on their UI throughout the encounter, so they’re playing whack a mole. Tanks get a little of both, having to whack down when DPS or healing players attract more attention from enemies than the tank but also having to chord through abilities to keep the generally single target in place.

    Personally, I’d like to see more games with positional interaction instead of swarm tactics where the best thing is to stand all in the same place, instead players in a battlefield would take up space. More games where DPS isn’t a pigeonhole role, but something done for a specific reason. More games with key to key puzzle tactics encouraging broad capability rather than specialization. And more games where the world changed from players’ day to day actions instead of just when developers get a round tuit.

  69. 69
    andyo

    Meh, Macs “just” work because they control the hardware and drivers, but you don’t have much say on upgrades or builds, and you pay very high for extras. Windows is the opposite. Linux is for masochists. Pick your poison.

  70. 70
    andyo

    Rock on, little girl and her parents, but what the hell is that t-shirt she’s wearing? It’s disembodied stockinged legs and high heeled shoes. Ick.

    That’s what’s left of the last person who told her to blindly obey the gender rules. It’s a warning.

  71. 71
    mythusmage

    I note that people talk about computer games, but not one RPG. Has any body ever tried one, and how was it different from a computer game?

  72. 72
    Kagehi

    But there’s no reason, especially in a game with any single-player content, for there to be a ‘DPS’ – everyone needs to do DPS in single-player to remove obstacles, everyone needs to replace their resources, and everyone needs to weather or avoid depletion of their resources by ‘damage’ or whatever.

    In something like Eve Online this gets interesting. Against NPCs you want enough “cap”, which is to say energy to sustain repair systems, to keep from getting blown up. You also need enough DPS to actually successfully kill the NPC, though it might take forever to do that, especially if they are using cap-rechargers. In PVP, same. For fleet situations, you specialize, since you can have some ship rigged with massive cap, and both remote and personal repair systems, someone else running drainers, and those protecting the DPS people.

    Unlike most MMOs, speed comes into effect too. Really small ships won’t last against big guns, but those guns don’t track very well, and can’t even hit, usually, at close range, so the major speed increase you get in the smaller ship means getting in really damn close, and buzzing around the target, with high DPS. Big ships, you want to take out opponents are range *before* they get to you, or have enough personal cap to repair any damage the small one are doing, until someone with a small/medium sized ship can peel off the attackers.

    There is some division of skills, but, in general, if you want to fly a carrier, you need to have the lower classes of guns trained up, before you can train the large ones. Its better for the guy providing support to have all the repair skills trained, but you *must* have some trained for your own ship too, etc.

    So, division of resources and skill generally depend on how big a ship you plan to fly, not tank/DPS, etc., so much. But, if you do train the bigger ships, you are already 50% of the way there to do any of the others too (it just takes a lot of time to train them). And, unlike most MMOs, there is no “experience and levels”, in the traditional sense. Its how much skill your clone can carry, so when you die, you don’t lose skills, and how much time you have actually invested in stacking skills into the learning cycle (and which ones).

    Closest you get to that, in most fantasy style games is some where you have 100% of the skill from the start, and its only about the RP, not levels, equipment, etc.

  73. 73
    lucifer

    what few women who play these games, anyway?

    http://gmtristan.com/40-percent-of-mmo-players-are-female/

  74. 74
    A. Noyd

    setec (#8)

    Many women just aren’t all that interested in acting out violence, simulated or not, and are more likely to prefer positive, nurturing roles like healer. That may not be politically correct, but it was statistically very clear on my server.

    Gosh, I didn’t know server stats could tell you people’s real-life genders and motivations for playing particular classes. Or are you referring to the statistical sampling performed by yourself and believe that your observations couldn’t possibly be biased, unlike the experiences of those posting counterexamples?

    Also, if you think those of us women who do like playing healers choose the role it because it’s “positive” or “nurturing” you’re an idiot. A few might, but there are all sorts of reasons for why one might wish to play a healer. One of them is that it gives you a certain amount of control over a group. The survival of a group is usually in your hands, so if people are being stupid, you can invoke “healer veto” (refuse to heal or rezz) until they shape up or fuck off. How positive and nurturing is it to dance on the corpse of a failsauce groupmate while you taunt him or her for being a noob?

    It’s also generally the role that changes group dynamics the most the more skilled or geared you are. If you want to do high-end content in a small guild, with a PUG, or during off hours, then, as a general rule, rolling a healer is one of the best ways to achieve that with a minimum of pain. Not only are healers often in short supply, making it easier to get groups, but your own badassery can make up for non-ideal groups in ways a more skilled DPSer or tank cannot. It might be “positive” to make it your hobby to beat the odds, but I don’t think you meant it that way.

    Then there’s how healing is great for people who like paying attention to a lot of things all at once rather than focusing on only a few things; you have to stay aware of the encounter, its mechanics and anywhere from five to several dozen health bars. Which is why, in my experience, raid healers (or other support classes) so often get made raid leader or get deputized to call AE jousts, watch the parse for slackers or aggro-whores, and identify and solve problems in strategy. But maybe you think acting as a commander, strategist and real-time data analyst appeals to women’s instincts for nurture?

    And, no matter what, when you roll a healer you’re still going out to make the mobs die. It’s not like you sit around in town and patch people up as they get back from slaughtering stuff, after all. The only difference violence-wise is your primary role in groups isn’t bashing the mobs directly–though healers who don’t do what DPS they can between heals are considered shitty healers.

    Less bullshit rationalization, more paying attention to reality.

  75. 75
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    “That may not be politically correct…”

    Aaand with that I can safely disregard anything else Setec has to say.

    BTW, jerk, I don’t “nurture” anything, but thanks for mansplaining my personality to me based on my genitalia.

    /not a gamer

  76. 76
    Rumtopf

    I was pretty bummed out looking at the Tera character stuff. There are these frikken badass stone giants, but they ONLY come in male. Ggrrg I want to be a giant badass stone woman :C
    The rest of the women characters/races are same-faced, boob laden supermodel types in skimpy outfits, typical shit(and the one exceptional race of small breasted animal women is called ugly).
    I was excited for the game, not now.

  77. 77
    Ing

    Many women just aren’t all that interested in acting out violence, simulated or not, and are more likely to prefer positive, nurturing roles like healer. That may not be politically correct, but it was statistically very clear on my server.

    Hell, I love Mass Effect because it lets me play ballbuster badass sheriff Shepard.

  78. 78
    laurentweppe

    If I wanted to play games on my computer instead of do work, I guess you’re right…I shoulda bought a PC.

    Nooooooooooooooo: Don’t give in to the dark side: we’ve got Boot Camp, we’ve got Parallels, we’ve got VMWare, we can now even install bibited versions of windows and not sully the maidenhood of our credit account by giving money to microsoft, we can even play with defective moded versions from the dark corners of the net without bricking our computers: games and toying with dangerous programms are not the dominion of the PCists rubes: today you can play game and still remain among Us Mac users in the felicity of smug computer elitism.
    (No, seriously, playing PC games on a Mac is laughingly easy nowadays)
    ***
    @momoelektra

    I spoke to a friend last week who is a reporter/journalist who focusses on video/computer games. We discussed how Bethesda/Bioware (mabye others too, but those big ones where the ones we talked about) seem to have left the gendered storylines and made them more open

    Actually, this is an evolution which I dislike a lot. Years ago, I tried out of boredom to start my seven or eight playthrought of Fallout with a female character, certain that changing my avatar’s gender would have zero effect on the gameplay and story. And then, surprise, during this new playthrought, some characters started to behave differently: some were more friendly and trusting, some other more agressive and uncooperative: it was not much, but it added variety to the storyline.
    *
    Now, all you get by choosing your character gender is a shallow esthetic customization and in Bioware games slight changes regarding who your character can fuck. At the same time, we’re supposed to believe that medieval worlds like Thedas and Tamriel are somehow shining beacons of enlightment regarding genders yet still trapped in regressive feodal and/or peplumesque imperial political systems.
    *
    In fact, it seems that the policy of these companies is: “sexism is a delicate subject, so let’s just not aknowledge it at all in our games in order to avoid an uncomfortable conversation”
    ***
    @gustav

    Don’t forget Merrill, the only mage in the game that can’t heal

    Speaking of stereotype, in both dragon ages, correctly done, Healers make the best tanks: in the first you have the Arcane-Warrior/Spirit-Healer I-can-solo-the-nightmare-mode-thank-you-very-much combo, in the second, you have the Spirit-Healer/Rock-Armor I-heal-faster-than-you-can-hurt-me combo.

  79. 79
    Who Cares

    Guess people ‘know’ I’m female then since ever since I’ve been playing MMOGs I’ve run a healer and generally be good enough that even as a non guild/clan/whatever character I would be invited to raids. So many good memories of people not believing that it was possible to keep a party alive after THAT screw up by the tank/DPS.
    Might help that I still don’t have a mic on the headphone. Helps people guessing if that is true or just me trying to hide what gender I am :)

  80. 80
    Momo Elektra

    @laurentweppe:

    In fact, it seems that the policy of these companies is: “sexism is a delicate subject, so let’s just not aknowledge it at all in our games in order to avoid an uncomfortable conversation”

    Could well be, I have never played Fallout. Interesting…
    What I heard about the sex stories is what turned me of The Witcher (1 and 2).

  81. 81
    John Morales

    Bah.

    When it comes to sitting at a chair and moving a mouse around, pressing buttons and clicking keys,
    [Women are no worse than men ⇔ Men are no worse than women]

    (Also, on the internet, no-one knows you’re a dog)

  82. 82
    Amphiox

    @laurentweppe is right. If you want to play PC games on Mac, or do anything PCish that the Mac can’t do, which really is preciously little, you can just Boot Camp et al.

    Every modern Mac is a PC and a Mac.

    Unless PZ’s Mac is really that old.

    In which case the solution is simple – get a new Mac, for work and play! If you’re already willing to pay the extra for the Mac, forking over another $150 or so for a copy of Windows is nothing. And the aversion to giving money to Microsoft is as silly as any religion.

    ****

    I remember, years ago, playing Arcanum, and choosing a female character gave you a -1 penalty in Strength and a +1 bonus in Constitution versus a male player. It’s the last game I remember, of those I played, where character gender had an actually impact on gameplay mechanics.

  83. 83
    Ing

    Any examples of games where you have a real gender choice for your characters that somehow makes the game considerably different its mechanics-wise? Since you’ve named a few Action/RPG games: Might and Magic series, Fallout 1 and 2, Baldur’s Gate series — you can choose whatever gender you want and while NPC attitudes may vary (which is great), it doesn’t affect the arse-kicking part at all.

    Mass Effect it only seems to change some dialogue and some romantic options.

    I’m GREATLY annoyed that A) it changes the romantic options and B) the characters available to both male and female are all female

  84. 84
    Amphiox

    I currently have a PC desktop and a MacBook Air, and an iMac at work. My previous laptop was a Dell XPS. My various PCs have run Windows 95, 98, Me, Vista, and 7.

    And I have never had any problems with either platform. Though it is true that ever few years my PCs tend to die by critical-virus-overload and need a clean hard drive reformat. But typically by then the model is obsolete anyways and I’m looking for a new computer regardless.

    Though it is interesting that, at least in my experience, in every lab I’ve ever worked in, the work computers that were hooked up to all the scientific instruments have almost always exclusively been Macs. (Even in one lab where everyone’s desk computer was a PC.)

  85. 85
    andyo

    You can’t have a real gaming card on a non-Mac-Pro though, can you? And, apparently, even then there’s not a lot of freedom either. I’ve always wanted to run a Hackintosh, but Apple likes being dicks about it and not support a lot of hardware.

  86. 86
    Luc

    @83: yep. Dragon age 2 was much better in that aspect. First game when I had to actually ponder which character would be a better match based on personality, looks, etc. instead of just picking the officially designated love interest for the sex of my character. Stupid way to keep choice away from players…

  87. 87
    tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach

    Amphiox:

    @laurentweppe is right. If you want to play PC games on Mac, or do anything PCish that the Mac can’t do, which really is preciously little, you can just Boot Camp et al.

    Don’t waste time (literally) on bootcamp; just spend the whole $40 or so for parallels or VMWare and run win-whatever and linux-whatever at the same time as OS X. If you really *have * to run a windows program for some horrible reason (I occasionally have to to run the windows version of Word in order to demonstrate where it fails to do its job correctly, for example) at least you can gracefully quit the whole nightmarish environment easily.

    Yes, OS X is a pretty poor OS. It’s just less poor than all the others currently in common usage. I’ve written (and more to the point, debugged) software for all of them over the last 40 years so I have a modicum of experience to go by. Now that I don’t have to suffer in that manner I choose OS X for a simpler life and just get on with my *actual* work.

  88. 88
    SallyStrange

    Since the topic has drifted, I feel okay asking this… suppose I don’t want to shell out $130 for an OSX update. What are some good resources for learning to install a freeware OS (whichever works) on my iMac?

  89. 89
    SallyStrange

    Is it even worth it? That’s the other part of my question, I guess. Fuck, it’s annoying. Neither my phone nor my iPod nor any of the software I’m interested in is compatible with my OS anymore.

  90. 90
    Crissa

    I can’t remember when OSX cost $130 new. Like, 2002 maybe?

    http://www.apple.com/macosx/

    Thirty bucks. Same for 10.6, even. I feel like a chump for buying a new copy of 10.6 right before 10.7 came out! $90 for the family pack and I only installed it on one machine…

  91. 91
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    suppose I don’t want to shell out $130 for an OSX update.

    I haven’t spent that much on an OS since I bought Windows 7 Home Premium ($120 + tax) earlier this year to install on my Mac to play games.

    Mac OS X has only cost $30 for the last two versions, not that I’ve found a reason to upgrade to Lion.

  92. 92
    otranreg

    @54

    Dr. Audley, I don’t see anything wrong with having a preset character if it is important to the plot, or it is technically/economically too hard to implement some kind of choice. Perfect recent example: the new Deus Ex game, in which there’s a ton of voiced-over dialogue, not to mention the fact that the plot is connected to the protagonist’s being male. Also, personally, I think the game would lose a lot of its charm if there were a choice of characters (it’d be fine if the protagonist were a woman, but any choice would suck).

    (I’ve just realised that the games you mentioned were on consoles, too. Well, my console days ended somewhere in the early 90′s, so I only have anything close to an opinion when it comes to PC)

  93. 93
    Amphiox

    Don’t waste time (literally) on bootcamp; just spend the whole $40 or so for parallels or VMWare and run win-whatever and linux-whatever at the same time as OS X.

    I use Parallels. However, both Parallels and VMWare split your machine’s processor cores between Windows (or whatever else you’re emulating, such as Linux) and MacOS. Which means if you want to use your entire processor’s power for a Windows application (and really the only time where this might matter is with games) you would need to use Boot Camp.

  94. 94
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Aren’t all the females in WOW really guys anyway? Real women wouldn’t put up with the over the top mammaries that the characters have.

    I see someone didn’t read the thread…

  95. 95
    laurentweppe

    I remember, years ago, playing Arcanum, and choosing a female character gave you a -1 penalty in Strength and a +1 bonus in Constitution versus a male player. It’s the last game I remember, of those I played, where character gender had an actually impact on gameplay mechanics.

    The remake got rid of it. In fact, the remake got rid of the whole “choose your gender” thing: the game lets you choose your four characters appearances, then allow you to change said appearances during the game.

  96. 96
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    @Aquaria

    He has one, and it works 99.99999999 times out of 100. That’s better than any WinBlows user can dream of.

    Fun fax: My Win7 laptop has crashed maybe twice since I’ve had it (Not counting Fallout-induced meltdown. MS can’t be held responsible for Bethesda’s inability to make a game instead of a series of bugs that happens to fall into the vague shape of a game). The XP rig I was using previously had a similar track record until about four years into its life, at which point I would have traded it out two years ago if I weren’t poor.

    PCs aren’t nearly as buggy as you turtleneck wearin’ swinesons like to pretend. They also have the nice advantage of not costing $40,000 for a 2Ghz Single-Core desktop with one gig of RAM and a GPU from the 90′s.

  97. 97
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    Oh, and if you’re willing to give money to a company as horribly evil as Apple, you have no moral grounds for not giving money to a company as slightly-less-evil as Microsoft.

  98. 98
    laurentweppe

    Fun fax: My Win7 laptop has crashed maybe twice since I’ve had it (Not counting Fallout-induced meltdown. MS can’t be held responsible for Bethesda’s inability to make a game instead of a series of bugs that happens to fall into the vague shape of a game).

    I take the fact that Bethesda games crash less often on PCs than consoles as evidence that microsoft’s and Bethesda’s bugs are cancelling each other in an unholy war for control of the central unit and that if one were to look at a PC motherboard running an Elder Scroll or a Fallout with an electron microscope, one would see a bloody battlefield were glitches and corrupted packets of data viciously gut each other.

  99. 99
    Therrin

    Go Team Space Slug!

    I’ve always preferred healing to any other role, it’s far more interesting than dps (rotation/priority/maintenance) or tank (aggro, hold aggro).

    SWTOR is far from competition with Warcraft, the experience Blizzard has had years to refine is clear when you’re unable to perform simple actions (eg. step into the freaking flashpoint (instance) with the rest of your group). And raid bosses? Bug tickets every fight*. Sure it’s cool, and I do like it, and I’m hoping it holds enough interest for the company to put in fixes. Heck, the Imperial Agent story alone was worth the purchase price.

    Remember Rift? Aion? Didn’t think so.

    *From last weekend, not beta.

  100. 100
    Therrin

    Go failure to proofread.

  101. 101
    Emrysmyrddin

    On a related note, the hashtag #GirlsShould is currently trending. Most of them seem to be about sexual morality. ~.~

  102. 102
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Otranreg,
    Yeah, I’ve been a console gamer pretty much since the get-go, so that may explain why I have such an aversion to MMOs. Not my style.

    Anyway, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a set protagonist- I’m currently playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (I skipped it before playing Revelations, whoops)- but I think that the best way to avoid the sterotypes currently is letting the player choose gender/race/whatever.
    And I agree, that option doesn’t always work, depending on the story or game play.

    Ing re: Mass Effect:
    ME2 is worse when it comes down to the romance options- you can fuck an alien is you so choose, but only of the opposite sex. No, it doesn’t make any sense.

  103. 103
    Gregory in Seattle

    I’ve been involved in online gaming almost since they were created (EverCrack, EverCrack II, City of Heroes/Villans, Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft.) Many of my friends play MMORPGs too.

    First, as has been pointed out, the gender of an avatar is absolutely no indication of the gender of the player. A lot of my straight male friends have a lot of female characters: the idea seems to be that if they are going to stare at someone’s backside for hours at a time, they want it be a backside they want to stare at for hours at a time. Similarly, my straight female friends have a lot of male characters.

    Second, in my experience, female players tend to have more male characters for the simple reason of avoiding freaks. When I have a female avatar, I get a lot more private messages, begs and other forms of harassment than I do when I’m wearing a male avatar. I would say that about a third of the male characters running around actually have women drivers (insert a tired gender stereotype here.) So even though a big, burly Tauren male leading the raid, chances are good that your raid leader is actually a woman (and, statistically speaking, a young to middle aged mom who plays online because she can get away with killing things there.)

  104. 104
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Many women just aren’t all that interested in acting out violence, simulated or not, and are more likely to prefer positive, nurturing roles like healer. That may not be politically correct, but it was statistically very clear on my server.

    And because you saw it that one time, therefore it’s universally true now and forever? *facepalm* LOL

    Its funny how “may not be politically correct” ALWAYS translates to: “here’s some bullshit I pulled out of my ass that I want to be true, but I have no proof of it, so I’ll try to divert attention away from that fact by pretending to be macho.”

    I guess I’m doing it wrong, being so into Assasssin’s Creed.

  105. 105
    Jadehawk

    What I meant to say is that it isn’t a thing that is ‘becoming more and more common’. I intentionally gave examples of games from the 90′s — it was back then as it is today: if there is a real choice, no edge is given.

    the point was that for a long time, games gave you a preset character, or (for example in Baldur’s Gate) the RPG aspects depended on which gender you chose; IIRC, you can’t flirt with same-sex NPC’s in Baldur’s Gate.

    Actually, this is an evolution which I dislike a lot. Years ago, I tried out of boredom to start my seven or eight playthrought of Fallout with a female character, certain that changing my avatar’s gender would have zero effect on the gameplay and story. And then, surprise, during this new playthrought, some characters started to behave differently: some were more friendly and trusting, some other more agressive and uncooperative: it was not much, but it added variety to the storyline.

    oh hey, here’s an idea; why don’t we also have characters we can modify by race, and that would also cause different interactions? It would add even more variety, and be so much more realistic! [/sarcasm]

    Now, all you get by choosing your character gender is a shallow esthetic customization and in Bioware games slight changes regarding who your character can fuck. At the same time, we’re supposed to believe that medieval worlds like Thedas and Tamriel are somehow shining beacons of enlightment regarding genders yet still trapped in regressive feodal and/or peplumesque imperial political systems.

    it’s fantasy; do you even know what the word means?

  106. 106
    Nerdette

    #99 Therrin -

    Go Team Space Slug!

    I’m on Space Slug, too! Neg’ath’le in Liquidus.

  107. 107
    glowball

    Gregory @103 (partial quote)
    “Second, in my experience, female players tend to have more male characters for the simple reason of avoiding freaks. When I have a female avatar, I get a lot more private messages, begs and other forms of harassment than I do when I’m wearing a male avatar.”
    THIS. This exactly. And when someone ruins the game by repeatedly harassing your avatar, you finally kill it off in disgust and start a new one. A male one. And never admit to being female again for as long as you actually want to enjoy the game.
    Or you say screw this and find another game to play, like Morrowind where you don’t have to deal with anyone else’s stupidity. (Or better still now, Skyrim. And don’t forget to join the Dark Brotherhood – which has quite a few ‘fellow’ bloodthirsty female NPC’s…)

  108. 108
    MyMindMeanders

    I have been playing SW:TOR in a group with my sister and her boyfriend. She tanks, he heals and I deliver the pew pew. I understand she also tanked in WoW.

  109. 109
    gravityisjustatheory

    At the same time, we’re supposed to believe that medieval worlds like Thedas and Tamriel are somehow shining beacons of enlightment regarding genders yet still trapped in regressive feodal and/or peplumesque imperial political systems.

    I’m pretty sure Thedas is quite explicitly not a shining beacon of enlightenment. The visiting Arl TrecherousBastard in the Human Noble begining is quite patronizing if you have a femal character, and that’s nothing compared to how his son behaves in the City Elf beginning. And one of the Orlesian women you meet later makes it clear that in Orlais, the nobles have the right to do what they want with any women they take a fancy to. The fact that a female Grey Warden can respond to all this with a blade to the gut (or killing they with her brain, or turning into a bear and eating their face) doesn’t mean the sexism/misogeny doesn’t exist.

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