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Posts with tag gender

Breakfast Topic: To re-customize or not

Paid customization has come to the game, and with it, some big decisions for a lot of players. We've asked for a long time to be able to change our gender or look in the game, and now that we can, we have to decide if we will or not.

Personally, I'm torn -- way back when I first started the game, I created a female Night Elf Hunter, thinking along the old classic lines of "if I'm going to stare at someone's backside for hours and hours, it might as well be a woman." But since then, I've gotten a lot of flak for being a dude playing a female character, and since I've played all male characters since then, I think I better identify with male characters anyway, even if the view isn't as good.

But on the other hand, I'm used to my Hunter now -- she's looked the same for almost 80 levels, and it would be weird to suddenly see a Night Elf guy on the screen in her place. So I'm torn -- change my character to a male and make being social in game much easier, or stay the same and keep my character familiar to me?

What do you all think? Are you facing the same situation or is the choice easier (or even harder) for you?

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Men are from the Horde, women are from the Alliance


Sanya Thomas continues a look into the demographics behind all of you World of Warcraft players -- last time around, we examined gender and how players measured up in the Bartle test (and crashed their servers -- sorry about that), and this time, it's all about the Horde and the Alliance, and why and when players choose a faction. No surprises until the very end -- the majority of players in game (though I swear it's become less of a majority since the game's launch a few years ago) choose Alliance, whether it's because of a "human bias," or just because they've usually been the heroes, and gamers tend to play with their friends.

But things get more interesting when you start putting classes and gender into the mix. Women are pushing the average on Alliance side (men even out around 58/42, but women prefer to "grab their sword and fight the Horde" at 65/35). And when you compare the classes to faction choice, as above, then the stats really start showing signs of life:clearly, women prefer Alliance Druids (and when you look at the Druid forms, there's no question why). You can see the Alliance/Horde separation in the Hunters (that's all those Night Elves), and you can see the gender separation again in the Priests. And the Warriors probably have the weirdest stats: Men play more Warriors overall, but the gender gap is even wider on the Horde side. While there are some women playing Horde Warriors out there (I know an Orc played by a female that will tank anything you can throw at her), Horde Warriors are much more likely to be men.

Very interesting. Keep in mind, as last time, that these gender numbers aren't character genders -- they're self-identified on the gamerDNA site, so we can be reasonably certain that we're looking at an (at least slightly) realistic stack of data here. There's probably lots more data to be explored, too -- it would be interesting to see what Blizzard knows about their players that we don't. What class, for example, logs in the most on any given week?

[via Massively]

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Bartle, gender, and the demographics of WoW's classes

A little while back the gamerDNA blog did a nice breakdown of how WAR classes correlate with how gamers do on the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, a widely used test that can break down exactly what type of player you are (Achiever, Explorer, Socializer, or Killer). It was such an interesting writeup that I hoped they'd do it with WoW classes, and apparently I wasn't the only one -- they've got a new post up now examining which classes in Azeroth align with which types of players.

They throw gender into the mix as well -- turns out that while the classes have generally the same percentage of players (not surprising, given that gameplay dictates the classes should be fairly balanced), things start to break up when you add gender to the mix. Priests and Warriors seem to have the biggest separation: according to their data (obtained via the profiles on their site), most Priests are played by females, and most Warriors are played by men. Paladins as well tend to be male, though not as much as Warriors, and Druids tend to be female, though not as much as Priests. Women also tend to prefer the elven races (Blood and Night), while guys apparently prefer Orcs and Dwarves (which helps my -- sexist, I admit -- theory from way back on the WoW Insider Show that the Dwarven starting area appeals to guys more than women).

The Bartle breakdown is interesting, too -- Killers prefer Rogues (duh), Warriors tend to be Achievers, and Hunters have the slight Explorer edge, but in general, the classes have a fairly even distribution across the board. All of the different roles can be filled by all the classes, which speaks to the way Blizzard has built the classes -- you can really solo, PvP, or group up with any of them. WAR's differences were distinct, but in WoW, Blizzard has done their best to make it so that whatever Bartle type you are, you can log in with any class and do what you want. gamerDNA promises more research here (including a Horde and Alliance breakdown), and we can't wait to see it.

Filed under: Night Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blood Elves, Classes

Jennicide: Male players "need to be more accepting of women ingame"

Allakazaham has posted an interview with "Jennicide," who, as we reported previously, is not only a poker player and Playboy poser, but plays World of Warcraft as well. Unfortunately, she doesn't sound all that into the game (she does claim to have raided during a poker match, which is pretty awesome if true), but she does make an excellent point about Blizzard's marketing: as cool as William Shatner and Mr. T are, their ads could use a little more feminine touch, and they could certainly acknowledge all the women playing this game a little better.

She also says that "guys need to be more accepting of women in game," and unfortunately she doesn't offer any solutions on how to make that happen, but it's good to hear someone say it -- just ask any girl who's been afraid to come on Ventrilo for fear that creepy guys will come out of the woodwork.

All in all, Jennicide sounds like she's got a good head on her shoulders (and she does actually win a few nerd points for playing The Realm). Maybe she's right -- more high profile female players might help turn the image of gender in game a little more close to equal.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

He Said/She Said: It's a man's WoW

Welcome to another edition of He Said/She Said where Amanda Dean and David Bowers take on some of the deepest gender issues in the World of Warcraft universe. This time we discuss the expectations of men and women in guilds and how WoW reflects the larger society.

Amanda:
I don't know how many times I've heard of women flirting their way into raids or excellent gear. Perhaps this happens in some cases, but these are the bad apples. I find myself growing kind of tired of the stereotype that girls can't play WoW. The truth is that many women play WoW, and many of us are very good at it.

Because of the stereotypes, A lady has to work considerably harder in a guild to earn respect. It's like being guilty of being a twit until proven otherwise.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, He Said She Said

New TCG wallpaper is putrid, but in a sexy way


Blizzard has released a new wallpaper featuring exquisite artwork from the "Mias the Putrid" card from the WoW TCG. The work is just as fantastic as it was with previous TCG-themed work -- maybe even better. Well, nothing is gonna beat the Stefen Colbear thing, but still. It's fabulous.

I say it's "putrid, but in a sexy way" with tongue in cheek, of course. This evil Mias lady is half-naked. She's in chain-slave-bondage. Oh, and ... I'm not one of those guys who has all the cup sizes memorized, but I'm pretty sure that proportionally this is on the higher end. No, I'm not gushing; I actually have a point! WoW Insider has talked about sexism in WoW before, but usually we've focused on the actions and words of some male players, and not so much on things like the art style of the game or the TCG. I'm not making a judgment here; I'm just pondering.

See, when I saw this new image, I thought of a conversation I had with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago. She long since quit WoW, but she said that as a female gamer it's always a little frustrating when many of the female characters are half-naked elf-slaves with huge breasts. What a standard! But then, doesn't WoW's art style exaggerate the male characters' muscles and such, too? Ah, well. It's food for thought. Type up your two cents if you want. Or just download the wallpaper.

Filed under: News items, Fan art, WoW TCG

He Said, She Said: Tauren Females


He Said , She Said is a new feature at WoW Insider, which looks at the game from masculine and feminine points of view.

This week David Bowers and Amanda Dean take a look at what it takes to play a female Tauren. We all chose our characters for different reasons, potential class and racial abilities should be primary among them. Many people play only characters of their real-life gender, while others chose their character's gender based on appearance or role-playing needs. For whatever reasons, Tauren females are a vast minority. Amanda believes that in most cases it takes a real girl to roll one of these femmes, what do you think?

Read on for our discussion.
In a world of gamers and gamer girls, let's take some time to examine what makes us the same and what makes us different. Here at WoW Insider we're discussing all kinds of in game issues through the lens of gender. Check out our inaugural post, we welcome all of your comments, and be sure to send in your ideas for our discussion.

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Filed under: Tauren, Virtual selves, Forums, He Said She Said

Opening a dialog about sexism in World of Warcraft

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of being a gamer girl is learning to deal with rampant sexism, without becoming defensive. Just like racism, sexism should not be tolerated, but how do you address it without making the problem worse? Smurphy from Burning Blade brought this up in the forums. Nethaera's response was to shut the thread down before a dialog could really begin on the subject.

Although the majority of WoW players are men, there are a number or women who do enjoy the game. Women are often important contributing members of guilds and raids. Perhaps a little known fact about gamer girls is many of us don't like to be hit on or given special favors like spots in raids. Nor do we like to be called honey, baby, or sweetie by complete strangers. We would very much like the same treatment given to our male counterparts. Women do truly enjoy the game, and should be able to feel safe and comfortable in the online environment.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Forums

Change your gender? Blizz says no

Character customization is on its way into Azeroth-- when Wrath of the Lich King comes around (whenever that is), we'll be able to change the way our characters look more than ever. But Blizzard still isn't interested in letting us change the most major functions of our characters-- Vaneras over on the EU forums makes it pretty clear that gender changes are never going to happen.

Gender changes are still a subject that inspires a little taboo in real-life, but actually, in World of Warcraft, it's something that a lot of players might want. Plus, while it's obvious that Blizzard wouldn't want people changing race or class (since there are actual abilities that go with both of those choices), there is no difference in the game between male and female, save for the cosmetic look. Sure, the story behind it would be a hard workaround (I'll let you imagine how that might play out, or, more likely, not), but allowing gender changes wouldn't upset the game, and would let those who feel they've made the wrong choice, err, "fix" things.

The fact is, however, that just like race and class, the gender you chose when you rolled a character have probably determined that character's existence. While changing the character's gender is just a cosmetic thing in terms of code, it's not in terms of identity, and that's what Blizzard has a problem with. The idea of a role playing game like WoW is that you choose a role to play. And if you have the option to change that role at a moment's notice, what's the point of asking you to choose in the first place?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Classes

Guild divas: There can only be one

Yes, we're stepping once again into the steaming hot gumbo of WoW gender relations -- this time with the delightfully spicy flavor of the Guild Relations forum.

Altaan is a female player and the GM of a casual raiding guild with about 80 players. She describes herself as a laid-back leader who lets the raid leaders take over the instances while maintaining a fun environment for her guild members. However, she's recently had problems with a few female members, and is wondering whether to kick them out or let them stay.

"They undercut my authority in subtle, almost underhanded ways that I'm having a hard time pinpointing to my male officers, who love the fact that there are women in the guild ... especially ones who will flirt with them," Altaan writes. "One of these women recently asked the men to attempt to procure my picture, purportedly because she is concerned with being the "hottest girl in the guild." The other has announced several times that the Raid Leaders "belong" to her and she is only allowing me to "borrow" them. Both women routinely use guild chat and Ventrilo to stake claims on the male players ("this is my paladin"; "my druid"; etc.)"

I've seen this phenomenon a few times in my WoW history, and it's recently been popularized on AFK Gamer. A small minority of female WoW players do not play well with others. They generally tend to mention their gender at any opportunity and flirt casually with anyone in a position of power. The label of girl gamer is important to them, as it makes them seem like a rare breed in a male-dominated virtual world -- the "guild diva." When another female comes along -- especially one who's an officer or guild leader and not flirty -- they feel that their territory is being threatened and lash out.

Altaan understands this, but is unsure of how to proceed. If she keeps the players, they will continue being nuisances and hindering her raids by flirting with the raid leaders and taking spots from better players. If she kicks them, she may be seen as catty herself, and she may lose one of her raid leaders. There's a debate on the forum, but most people seem to think that she should kick them for challenging her authority and being drama queens.

What do you think Altaan should do? Female officers and GMs, have you had any problems with divas in your guild? Is this about gender at all, or merely a more subtle display of power struggles?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds

Poll: More men play women than women play men

Perhaps brought on by the news that a Chinese MMO wants to reveal gender bending gamers, Cary posted a pretty interesting poll over on the WoW LJ, asking readers what their gender is and what sex they play as on their main character. The general consensus seems to be that most people play as their own gender, but overwhelmingly, more women play as their own gender than men. The poll itself seems a little off to me, as it's really pointless to compare the percentages given, but by crunching the numbers a bit (and please remember how bad at math I am), I get that 40% of men who answered play the game as women, while only 11% of women who answered play the game as men. Here's more data on this, that we've covered before.

Very interesting. We've touched on the reasons for gender bending in game a few times before, and there are all kinds of reasons why people play as characters of the opposite sex, from staring at an attractive behind to garnering more money and attention (or less attention) from other players, to roleplaying a character.

But really, none of that matters too much-- it's just a game, and for whatever reason, people are welcome to play it as they please. A better question might be how you refer to the gender of other players. I've gotten in trouble a few times here by referring to players on the forums (including CMs, way back when I started) as one gender when it turns out they're actually another, so eventually I just decided to call it how I see it: if someone plays a female character I call them "her," and a male character gets called "him." For people playing a different gender, sure, it might come off a little strange. But it comes with the territory, I guess, of pretending to be someone else for a while.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Chinese MMO puts the kibosh on 'dem "less feminine" female characters

The illustrious and oft-misunderstood cheese connoisseur Turpster of WoW Radio made a comment in the WoW Insider podcast last weekend to the effect that everybody in World of Warcraft is a guy, which was especially amusing because Elizabeth Harper was on the show with me. Warcry's Razorwire posted an article this morning that just about made my eyes pop out of my freakin' head on this very subject.

To make a long story short, as one of my friend's often says, a Chinese MMO has banned the account of every male player in the game who played a female character. Yes Virginia, they made every player in the game verify with a webcam. While not a foolproof system (especially if you have a female family member or friend who can be bought for the right price) it obviously netted them results.

Since the first day I played World of Warcraft I've heard adult players like myself tell me how much extra they'd be willing to pay to play on a server where age of majority is verified somehow. This kind of verification though, seems to me to be just a little bit over-the-top. At the same time though, I can see where certain segments of the gaming population would be jumping-up-and-down excited about it.

What do you think about gender verification? Please keep it clean and respectful. I have the prototype for that paladin ranged weapon BRK talked about yesterday and I'm not afraid to use it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items

New Daedalus data: girls heal and play elves, kids play Horde



This has been the common wisdom, or at least a stereotype, for quite some time, but apparently female players really are more likely to prefer healing than male players are. The Daedalus Project, one of my favorite sites about MMOs, has published some new results. The site focuses on sociological research about MMOs and MMO players, and among other things, the new results look at the gender and age breakdowns of how MMO players would respond to various hypothetical questions.

There were four questions asked, although one of them is only slightly applicable to WoW. For nice charts (as seen above) and full data, see the site, but I'll summarize the interesting points here, question-by-question. Note that it's possible that this data, being an aggregate of players of different MMOs, does not represent WoW well. I doubt it, however; given WoW's market dominance, most of the respondents probably are WoW players. Edit: note that in my summaries below, I'm merely point out trends, not causes. I'm not trying to say (for instance) that girls heal because they're girls; there are many other factors at play here.

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Filed under: Virtual selves

Breakfast Topic: Gender in WoW

We've written about gender before, and it's an interesting topic that confronts one more frequently and more dramatically in WoW than it does in other parts of life. Azeroth is a sociologist's dream in several ways; I'm not even a sociology buff and I'd love to see some data on player vs. character demographics.

Do you play primarily your own gender or the opposite gender from your own, or do you play both genders pretty equally? Personally, I'm male, but I mostly play female characters. My other two RL friends who play WoW are male and female, but they both play mainly female characters as well. Furthermore, why do you play the gender(s) you do, and do you find that you get treated differently depending on what gender character you are playing?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, Features

Healing is for the women

Garthar put something out there on the forums that I just couldn't pass up. Healing, he suggests, is for the women. He claims that he's found most women that play the game play healers-- he says most druids and priests he plays with are women. Note that he's not saying that all women play healers necessarily (although that's a conclusion you could take from him), but he's actually saying that all healers are played by women.

I'm here to tell you that's not true. I play a resto shaman who heals like a madman (and a shadow priest, although I'm not sure if that counts or not), and while there are some female gamers who play priests and druids in my guilds, the majority of priests are actually guys. In fact, I've played with a surprising (to me) number of women warriors. There's nothing an old-school gamer like me loves hearing more than a female player complaining because the guild is pressuring her to spec out of fury and start tanking. Just more proof that videogaming is a girl thing, too.

Sexism aside (of course there are exceptions to every rule), Garthar can't be right, can he? There's no way only women play healers. Is healing as a class more feminine somehow then smashing things over the head with a large weapon? And where do the other classes fall in here? I know a few women that play mages (and play them well), but I have to admit that most of the rogues I know are played by guys. Does our gender have any say at all in what classes we choose to play?

Filed under: Priest, Rogue, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves

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