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  • Slaign
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The Daily Grind: Are MMO players tired of beefcake? {Massively}

Mar 26th 2012 4:24PM 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.

The Daily Grind: Are MMO players tired of beefcake? {Massively}

Mar 26th 2012 8:21AM 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.

The Queue: Winter Veil is coming {WoW}

Dec 12th 2011 11:09AM Your answer to the last question is the closest anything has come to making me want to resub and try raiding in WoW again. The idea of raiding without all the raiding culture BS that goes with it sounds wonderful.

I mean, I'm still not going to do it, TOR early access starts tomorrow. But still, food for thought.

The Daily Grind: Do MMOs coddle us too much in the early game? {Massively}

Dec 7th 2011 3:56PM @Strangeland

As appealling as your suggestion sounds, it's simply not feasible. What you seem to be suggesting is that these different servers have different versions of the game, and still receive bug fixes and updates. That's, frankly, insane from a development man-power standpoint.

Even if you're fine with the servers running older content not having content updates, the fact is, even most people who yearn for the old days will get bored without them, cutting down the number of players this special server would be implemented for.

Also, even without content updates, a company like Blizzard isn't going to let a server go without bug fixes, which still expands upon the dev team's work required.

The true heart of your suggestion seems to encourage developers to try to create special servers for all types of players and implement patches and bug fixes with server specific features over time, in effect, maintaining 2+ different games.

As much as your idea sounds awesome from a player perspective, you have to be realistic, it's absolutely crazy from a developer standpoint. We unfortunately don't live in a world where something gets done just because it would be really cool. We live in a world of cost/benefit analysis, and the cost of such a venture would far outweigh the benefit.

Remember that there are entire teams of people dedicated to keeping these behemoths running, and to add extra servers with wildly variant rulesets would require doubling manpower, and thus, costs.

That said, the one case where it may be possible is your example, WoW. WoW already has so many users and pulls in so much money, it might be possible for a dev team to have more success coming on and running a second ruleset for WoW than they might creating their own new MMO.

There are still 2 big problems with that. First, the dev team would have to be fine with the fact they are working on a hand me down project, not one of their own. Second, for Blizzard it would have to result in at least higher subscription retention, and ideally, increased subscriptions. They would need a way to measure how much income they can attribute to the new dev team's project, and how much of that revenue would be there anyway with just the normal game.

It's a wonderful idea from a design standpoint, you just have to find a way to make it work from a production and business standpoint, which is always the real obstacle in this industry.

EverQuest to hackers: You've been served {Massively}

Dec 4th 2011 1:54AM @Ehra Firstly, don't put words in my mouth, I never said the game's difficulty was a valid reason to cheat. Secondly, don't speak to me as if I'm a cheater just because I don't support capital punishment for them in this specific case. I understand how easy it is to lose yourself in the argument and start slinging the word "you" around because you view me as the enemy, but I'm not, I'm just the devil's advocate here.

Now, on the matter at hand. Yes, a rule being unenforced DOES create an environment of encouragement. It's effect is twofold. Firstly, a lack of enforcement on the rule undermines it's importance. People see a lack of effort to enforce as an admission that the rule really doesn't matter. Second, lack of enforcement means the people who are doing it already are getting away with it. As the problem grows, it can seem as if you HAVE to cheat in order to stay competitive. If the problem grows far enough, it can become the NORM to cheat. When your regular group loses a rare spawn three times in a row to cheaters, and decides to cheat themselves, it can be a hard thing to do what's right. Sure, the right thing is to walk away, but peer pressure is a very difficult thing, even for adults.

I never said these people were right or justified in cheating. These people were wrong, plain and simple. However, I do believe in doling out punishment based on the entire circumstance, not simply the crime. The circumstance at hand was an environment that encouraged people who would otherwise never cheat to think it's OK to do.

If you deny that the way rules are enforced can change the moral outlook of an individual, then you are ignorant. If you claim that succumbing to temptation automatically makes one bad, or worthy of harsh punishment, then you are intolerant. Neither of those are admirable qualities.

Note that my exact quote to which you responded was, "These people aren't necessarily bad people. They just made a poor decision in an environment that encouraged that decision."

Are you then arguing that these people ARE strictly bad people? That their poor decision makes them incapable of being quality community members? You are wrong. Some of these people may be poxes upon the community, but those people will probably continue to break the rules and end up banned, or leave because they can't get away with it anymore. Some of them, however, are just misguided, and can use this opportunity to turn over a new leaf.

I applaud Sony for recognizing this and offering these people a chance. You claim it undermines their message, but it does not. They said there will be no SECOND chances, this is the first. They offer a clean slate, and say just don't mess up again. The people who deserve to be banned will fail to heed that message and end up as examples.

Honestly, have you never done something wrong because you thought there would be no consequence, or because you didn't understand the ramifications of your actions? If so, I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was speaking to Jesus. Otherwise, think about how you like to be treated when you make an error in judgement. Zero tolerance is rarely a just or fair system.

EverQuest to hackers: You've been served {Massively}

Dec 3rd 2011 1:43AM @Ehra The fact of the matter is, when people feel free to cheat, that there is no consequence, and that everyone else is doing it, they are more likely to do it. These people aren't necessarily bad people. They just made a poor decision in an environment that encouraged that decision.

By creating an environment that actively discourages that decision, and handing out a broad warning to all, they give those people an opportunity to reform and play as intended. These people can still be quality members of the community.

Remember that EverQuest isn't a PVP focused game. The cheating done was, for the most part, non-malicious. It wasn't focused on winning a direct competition or ruining another person's day, it was focused on making the cheaters personal experience easier. It was things like watching the game client's bandwidth and creating a map of all the mobs in a zone, so you can watch for special mobs without tracking, or in extreme cases, making a character more powerful so as to kill NPCs they otherwise couldn't.

Unfortunately, these actions had a negative impact on the game as a whole, but it wasn't due to people being malicious, merely being selfish and lazy. Those are not positive attributes, but nor are they grievous sins, or ones that you can afford to be a hardline about in a community as small as EQ is now.

This allows people who simply succumbed to temptation a chance, while also setting up the future to ensure that cheaters are aware that they are engaging in a game of cat and mouse with their accounts' futures at stake.

EverQuest II drops Age of Discovery's NDA {Massively}

Dec 3rd 2011 1:31AM @Seffrid An NDA is not to stop the spread of information about the game, an NDA is meant to stop people from talking about how terrible something is in an unpolished beta form. The only reason they pursue information leaks is to maintain the integrity of the NDA.

It's not about keeping secrets, it's to stop "reviews" of an unfinished project. A product is more free to grow and evolve when not under public scrutiny.

The Daily Grind: Do you buy from a vendor? {Massively}

Nov 25th 2011 11:40PM If you're playing TOR this weekend, don't ignore the vendors. The Vendors in TOR are pretty neat. Basically, you pay for a green drop. They offer the green armor that drops in their area, but you have to pay a fairly hefty price and just like a drop, the stats are random.

So, if you're about to leave an area and need one or two more pieces of armor before you do, visiting a vendor is like paying a certain amount to guarantee your next kill drops a green for the slot you want. You can't be sure the investment will pay off with the ideal stats, but if it does, you get a solid piece of gear.

I think it's a pretty brilliant way to do vendors.

Storyboard: There are no bathrooms on Coruscant {Massively}

Nov 25th 2011 11:21PM Think about it, it's gotten to the point in reality where we can almost count on someone having a computer in their home. In our lifetimes, we will be able to count on someone having a smartphone.

It's safe to assume (and in fact addressed in the Star Wars books) that all characters in a far future sci-fi setting have some sort of data device. (Star wars calls them data pads.)

At the point where you can assume that safely, signs become nearly obsolete. Why have signs to follow when you can get directions from the local public network?

Thus, you can assume there were bathrooms in Star Wars, and you never saw signs for them because there was no need for them. (As mentioned above, the Star Wars books do reference bathrooms. Usually called refreshers, and usually referred to in the context of a shower, not biological functions.)

It becomes more problematic in open world games, but can be easily solved by having doors that don't open. You can just assume the mundane things you don't need to see exist behind those unopenable doors.

At least in something like TOR you are wandering through a city and you know there is much more than what you can explore. In WoW, you have to remind yourself that as big, beautiful, and nicely architechted as Stormwind is, it cannot possibly be a lore accurate, scale model of the human capitol.

Until the day where MMOs nail un-instanced housing in a way that allows for good city planning (as opposed to people building houses wherever and the results looking like it rained structures randomly from the sky) you have to remember that what you see on screen is merely a prop to help you imagine the world as it is in the lore.

The Perfect Ten: Ways to prepare for the coming of SWTOR {Massively}

Nov 25th 2011 4:49AM @Space Cobra

True enough that there will always be people with different tastes, and people who feel the need to shout about what they don't like and cast judgements over a matter of taste. It's easy enough to brush off most of that, but I'm closer to Star Wars.

With Star Wars, it's rather disappointing because of how often someone claims to be a Star Wars fan, and it's exciting to have something I love to talk about in common, then it turns out they hate everything but the OT, and it's like...... oh. Well.....

It's like meeting someone who says they love your favorite band, only to hear them constantly complain about everyone but the lead singer. Or going to a forum for said band and finding nothing but people who hate everything except the first single.

I love Star Wars, I digest almost ALL of it, and I love to talk about it with people who love it as much as me, but unfortunately, most of the people who call themselves Star Wars fans really only like the OT, which is like 3% of whats there. What other things have people who call themselves diehard fans but only appreciate 3% of it?

So, you go to forums for fans and find a whole bunch of 3%ers, and worse, they claim that they are the true fans and that the dirty stinking stuff you like is polluting their playground. You go somewhere to talk about something you love, and you drown in negativity.

I'm not saying you have to like the prequels or pretend that you do, but why do people have to be so damned negative about it? Saying they pretend they don't exist, calling them abominations, that they ruined Star Wars... Even if you enjoyed them the least of the movies, I don't get the pure hatred for them and those who enjoy them.

How can I enjoy a Star Wars community as a fan of the whole Star Wars universe, when it's filled with so many OT purists that one can't even discuss most of Star Wars without getting bogged down in hate. How can you have an enjoyable conversation with people who see no need to even understand what midichlorians are before ranting about how they ruined Star Wars, fueled entirely on misconceptions?

@Lucidus

Yea, I like Ep. 3 better than ESB. I love and adore ESB, but that's just how much I love Ep. 3. Start to finish, it's epic. Starts with the best space battle (Anakin and Obi-wan boarding Grievous' starship) ends with the best lightsaber battle (Anakin vs Obi-wan spliced with Palpatine vs Yoda) and throws in a wookie army in the middle.

Ewan McGregor as Obi-wan is I think the best acting in Star Wars rivaled only by Harrison Ford as Han Solo. His monologue after defeating Anakin breaks my heart every time, especially after watching them become as brothers in The Clone Wars. To me, Darth Vader's most impactful line is not "I am your father!" but "I hate you!!"

Despite all the complaints, I also enjoy the extensive CG in the PT. I think it looks great, and I love Star Wars because it takes me to a wondrous galaxy of incredible technology and crazy aliens, so the PT's ability to do that with modern technology is a boon. I also like the acrobatic lightsaber style more than fencing. Jedi seem way more badass in the PT.

Hoth is certainly the best land battle, and I can appreciate ESB's position as the movie that made Star Wars what it is. I respect the degree of awesome it achieved ahead of it's time, and I'll always love it as the premier source of iconic imagery. Still, when it comes to choosing what movie I most enjoy watching, Episode 3 wins out easily.

@(Unverified)

When I spoke of people to immature to understand what I'm saying, I meant people like you. If you honestly look at your tastes and see the definition of good, you are ignorant. I'm not trying to address people like you, I know there is no point. I'm trying to address people who understand hat making a community a more enjoyable place is better for everyone.

When you say things like "And the advice not to watch the prequels is spot-on" ... "Because he actually doesn't want people to watch the prequels" it just points out how immature you are. You honestly think that because you didn't like the prequels, no one else could or should? Why should you specifically want people NOT to watch anything? What do you care? What if they do like it, as some people do? Why is it any of your concern? Why can't other people decide what to like themselves? Do you really think so highly of yourself that you think you can correct people in matters of taste? Do you honestly believe that if you don't like something it's bad?

It's one thing to say you didn't like the prequels. It's quite another to say the prequels are terrible. The first acknowledges that tastes vary and that the prequels simply did not align with yours. The second applies the label of terrible as if it were fact, and anyone who enjoys them is incorrect in doing so.